Agard takes issue with two cuts

Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard is disappointed that the budgets of both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) have been slashed.

Saying she expected Government to pay more attention to these sectors, Dr Agard expressed surprise that the Ministry of Agriculture would be receiving $68 million less than it did last year.

“I fully expected for example, that the Ministry of Agriculture would be the beneficiary of increased funding. Surely, there is no greater need than for Barbados to reduce its heavy reliance on imported foods and by extension to increase its domestic crop production,” she argued during debate on the 2016/2017 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue in the House of Assembly this afternoon.

“Not only so that Barbadians can feed themselves, but also as a means to decreasing our high import bill.

“It would also serve a pivotal role in the fight against lifestyle chronic diseases to a change of diet to a more healthy set of options. But to the contrary, this Ministry has had its budget reduced by approximately $68 million,” Dr Agard said, noting that Government’s allocation for “crop production has also been reduced from $51 million to $32 million.

“These are measures which on the surface seem confusing in the scheme of national development,” Dr Agard added.

She argued against this move, noting that the time had come for Barbados to look seriously at increasing its crop production.

Additionally, Dr Agard said with the vast number of challenges currently being experienced by the BWA, she was at a loss as to why that budget had also been cut.

“Equally confusing to me, in terms of national priorities is the vote to the BWA that has been reduced from $80 million to $32 million.

“This in light of difficulties experienced not only in the north, but throughout Barbados where it is said that our water mains network being over 150 years old and subject to constant leaks to the tune of 50 per cent of the water piped, need to be addressed.

The Christ Church West MP said in those circumstances, it was difficult to comprehend why a complete overhaul of the water system was not a national priority for water-scarce Barbados.

“Water is too crucial to all aspects of any country’s development not to be given greater national priority,” she stressed.

2 Responses to Agard takes issue with two cuts

  1. seagul March 17, 2016 at 6:29 am

    The Honorable Member of Parliament for Christ Church West Dr Maria Agard is disappointed that the budgets of both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) have been slashed. And so are we at Deeper Soul-Ajani. We don’t need to know rocket science to understand that this woman of integrity is very correct in pointing out the great importance of feeding ourselves. Respecting ourselves and national priority. We should be very mindful of the words that a nation cannot prosper until it learns that there is much dignity in plowing a field as in writing a book.

  2. Sunshine Sunny Shine March 17, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Dr. Agard, this woman sees you as a beacon of integrity and strength when it comes to things parliament. Keep your chin up and your dignity intact. You will soon become chief corner stone though you be the stone that builders rejected.

    There are those who do not want integrity. Their preference is to appeal to conformist and persons who can keep the silence of secrets responsible for many lucrative lifestyle practices.

    However, you do not have to be disappointed with what this government has done to agriculture and the BWA. All bajans recognize that important interests would be placed last as a result of an upcoming election that needs a diversion of funds to other ministries for awarding contracts under a reciprocal arrangement. The Prime Minister is on record defending 7 million dollars for his celebration. I can guarantee you that regardless if we are celebrating 50 years or not, a man in the Sahara desert dying from thirst and hunger with a sack of gold on his back, only cares for one thing and one thing alone: water and something to eat. A man who is in his palace away from the troubles of the desert does not give much thought to what is going in it. This Prime Minister is not interested in the sufferings of the island. Legacies are what he is all about.


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